The dictionary defines justice as “the quality of being just or fair”. Even the symbol for the courts, the houses of justice, is a balancing scale which I assume is trying to further communicate the message of equality and fairness in the justice system. But is the justice system really just, though?

Let’s further look at the definitions of “just” and “fair”, the two qualities that make up justice, which also happen to be synonyms of each other. The dictionary defines them as “free from favoritism or self-interest or bias or deception”. The justice system prides itself with upholding these values whilst in reality, they are far from being upheld, very far. Starting off right with the arrest of an individual for a supposed crime, there is nothing just or fair about it. First of all, how someone gets arrested or even whether they get arrested for a crime depends of so many factors. The color of their skin, social status, gender etc etc.

One thing you do not want to find yourself being in our justice system is a “plausible suspect”. Being a plausible suspect basically means you fit the preexisting stereotype of what people who normally commit that crime are like. For example, if there is a weed raid in my neighborhood ,between my house ,the guy with the dreadlocks and my neighbor’s house ,the guy with the chiskop, whose house is going to get a more intensive search? Because I fit the stereotypical profile of someone who uses weed, I’m going to get the short end of the justice stick just because of that, a stereotype.

An upscale neighborhood will not be subjected to the same publicized drug raid that a shanty neighborhood is subjected to. A kid in the hood who has been caught with a bag of weed in the hood will not be treated the same as a suburbs kid who has also been caught with the same bag of weed. A woman doing public nuisance will not be subjected to the same treatment as her male counterpart doing the same thing. A white person caught shoplifting would not be handled the same as a black person caught shoplifting. Being biased because of stereotypes that society has laid out is part of human nature and unfortunately, the law and justice are expected to be enforced by these very same people who cannot help but be biased because it is in their nature to be. So how does the justice system pride itself with not being biased when its enforcers are biased and enforce preexisting stereotypes?

The court system, which determines whether an individual is guilty or not, whether an individual gets to keep their freedom or not, completely lacks the fairness that it prides itself with. Apart from the bias that naturally exists with a judge, one’s freedom also rests on whether they have a good lawyer or not and this itself shows the rot in our justice system. The system basically tells us “if you have the money to get a really fancy lawyer, you can literally get away with murder” but then the same system again turns around and says “hey, rich or poor, we are all equal under the law”. If this is not a contradiction, I do not know what is. One’s innocence should not have to rest on whether they can afford a good lawyer or not. One’s innocence should rest solely on whether they committed the crime they are accused of or not.

The reason nothing is or can be done about our rotten justice system is because so many of its rotten aspects have been normalized and institutionalized in our society that we really do not see the point of doing anything about it. Everyone knows that a good lawyer ups your chances of getting away with a crime but no one stops and asks “hey guys, does that not defeat the whole thing about justice not having any bias or favoritism?” because, well, it’s just the way it is. No one see a problem with it because we have been led to believe it’s the way things are supposed to be. So even if you did not commit a crime, you are definitely not going to place your chances of being found innocent on the hands of our “just and fair” system, you’d rather spent thousands on a good lawyer, just in case .

When you do not have much experience with the law and justice system, everything appears fair, just and rational because you are looking at it from the outside. You are using the textbook definition of it but when you actually get to experience it first hand, you will quickly realize that under the justice system, just like in animal farm, we are all equal but depending on who you are, some are more equal than others. So if you are just a mere peasant citizen, do not dare talk about toppling the government in front of multitudes of journalists or else you will find yourself drowning in sedition and even treason charges but if you are anything but a peasant citizen ,what is a sedition or treason charge to someone important as you?